Difference in Web Construction Behavior at Newly Occupied Web Sites Between Two Cyclosa Species


Kensuke Nakata, Tokyo Keizai University, Minamimachi 1-7-34, Kokubunji, Tokyo, 185-8502, Japan. E-mail: ken@tku.ac.jp


Animals make decisions based on subjective assessments of their environment. To determine their future foraging activities, animals probably assess food availability from past foraging experiences. Thus, foraging also functions as a way for animals to collect information, with the uncertainty of an assessment decreasing as foraging activity increases. This suggests that different needs for a correct assessment may affect the investment made in foraging activities. Orb-web spiders sometimes relocate their webs and relocation rate differs among species. After web relocation, several spider species have been reported to construct the first webs at newly occupied web sites using less silk than usual, possibly to avoid the risk of an overinvestment at sites where food availability has not been determined. Nevertheless, they may pay a cost, because of inadequate decision-making, if webs constructed with less silk convey less information and increase the uncertainty of an assessment. We expect that stronger site tenacity necessitates a greater requirement for correct assessment of web site and the degree to which spiders reduce the amount of web silk in the first web after web relocation is smaller in species that use the same site longer. To test this hypothesis, we examined web construction in two orb-web spiders, Cyclosa octotuberculata and C. argenteoalba. At the same time we found that these two species exhibit different web-site tenacity, as C. octotuberculata does not relocate its webs as frequently as does C. argenteoalba. After artificially induced web relocation, C. argenteoalba constructed webs that were initially smaller and contained only about 2/3 of the silk in control webs that were constructed at the original site. In contrast, C. octotuberculata did not exhibit such decreases in web size or in the amount of web silk used. This result is consistent with our hypothesis.